After lunch back in Trearddur we restocked the day bag and Toms little day bag with their Wildlife Explorer nature books and their binoculars and we headed out to South Stack. South Stack is an area near Holyhead in Anglesey where there is a lighthouse and an RSPB nature reserve. The Lighthouse seemed a little ambitious for little legs what with it’s 400 steps down (and back up remember!) so we decided on the cliffs and Ellins Tower where there RSPB have telescopes and binoculars set up for you to spot the wildlife and also a board telling you what animals have been seen that day (the porpoises seem to be a particular highlight).
There is a free car park for the reserve and after that it’s a gorgeous walk. The kids loved it. Tom kept asking why the grass was purple (heather) and they were able to tick off 3 things in the books. They even picked some blackberries as they walked which pleased Charlotte. There are a couple of benches along the way and we had a little sit down where Tom got his binoculars out and Charlotte chased and blew what my husband calls Sugar Stealers (floaty seed things).
After a rest we carried on to the Tower. The kids really enjoyed looking at the lighthouse and asked lots of questions about it. Tom got really excited when he saw two people scaling the cliffs but they were determined to go in the tower which looks a bit like a castle. Up the small flight of stairs into the viewing area where we were lucky enough to find a couple of spare telescopes and be told that a porpoise had been spotted near the cliff edge with her calf. I tried to focus and see if I could find them but Charlotte had chosen that moment to start to fight with Tom. He was casually looking through the spare telescope when she proudly declared it was her turn and so it went. The atmosphere in the tower is similar to the atmosphere in a library in that it’s very quiet and those that are talking are doing so in very hushed voices so our kids kicking off didn’t exactly go unnoticed. Needless to say we left really quickly and never saw the porpoise. Outside, the kids had instantly calmed down and were quite happy to be wandering back to the car. We stopped again on a bench and Charlotte ate some raisins while looking at the view and for crickets. It was a great day. Lots of driving, but the kids really seemed to enjoy the activities (apart from the seaweed, the tower, and whatever Tom got cross at in Beaumaris). We discovered Tom in particular enjoyed bird watching in Center Parcs last year when he sat for an hour at a time at the back door of the cabin watching the birds at the bird feeder and when we watched him get excited that he had seen a woodpecker (which he identified-we didn’t know what it was). After this we went to Trearddur Bay beach where we saw lots and lots of little crabs all heading to the sea. We caught one and put it in a bucket for the little ones to have a closer look at. We managed to avoid seaweed which was great until Charlotte saw a large dead crab and got scared. Fortunately, a diversion up onto the rocks was enough to help her forget about it but our rock climbing trip was cut short as Charlotte needed the loo and there wasn’t one nearby but it was tea time anyway.
Fun had (according to the kids): 8/10
Tantrum level: 4/10 (but more intense due to the quiet environment) and 6/10 for the dead crab.
Worth it? Absolutely
Worth knowing: That the car park for the RSPB reserve is completely free as is entrance to the tower (there is a charity box to leave a voluntary donation in outside). We picked up the kids binoculars from Wilkos for £3 each, they do the job and ours got bashed around a bit but are yet to fall apart. The path is also gravel so no worries about it getting muddy in the rain.
50 things achievements: 44. Go bird watching and 39. Catch a crab.
Cost: 80p for 1 hours parking at Trearddur Bay beach